Ronald Koeman resigned as Southampton’s manager on Tuesday, leaving Saints after two years to go and manager Everton.
[ MORE: Inside story of RK’s decision ]
Koeman, 53, has signed a three-year deal at Goodison Park after leading Southampton to back-to-back finishes in the top seven of the Premier League and Europa League qualification.
With Koeman gone — much to the disappointment of most Saints fans as he often spoke about his desire to remain at St Mary’s for at least another season — now Southampton must move on and make the right appointment to continue their upward trajectory. After seven consecutive seasons of higher finishes in the standings, they’re a club on the up and are well-backed, financially, by their owners, the Liebherr family.
This isn’t the first time they’ve been in this position. Along with plenty of star players, Mauricio Pochettino left Saints two summers ago for Tottenham Hotspur and Southampton then appointed Koeman to great success.
Now, it’s time to do the same again and it will be better to appoint a new manager sooner rather than later to stop any player exodus from occurring this summer as rumors continue about Sadio Mane, Victor Wanyama, Graziano Pelle and many others.
Below is a look at the bookmakers favorites to be the new man in charge at Southampton, but let’s remember that Saints haven’t always appointed the obvious choice in the past.
Frank de Boer: 2-1 – Left Ajax in the summer and knows a lot of Saints’ players well from the Dutch leagues. Easy transition with a similar style of management to Koeman?
Eddie Howe: 3-1 – Turned down Saints in 2009 when they were in League One, manages south coast rivals Bournemouth which could be an issue. Bright manager but unlikely to happen.
Vitor Pereira: 6-1 – Current Fenerbache manager has impressive records at Porto, Olymiacos and in Turkey. A dark horse to watch out for.
Andre Villas-Boas: 8-1 – Former Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur manager who has walked away from Zenit. His agent claims he will take time off from the game. Solid choice.
Manuel Pellegrini: 10-1 – After leaving Manchester City, Pellegrini has spoken about wanting to stay in the PL. He’s managed a smaller club (Villarreal) to great success before. A good fit.